I used my Bradley Smoker and a technique called 'Cold Smoking'. Essentially, I ran the smoke generator but not the heating element, putting th cold steaks into the smoker and letting them smoke for about an hour. Then I grilled them in the normal manner.
Some background science:
Bacteria grows on meat when it is in the temperature range of 40-140F, but the really dangerous range is about 80-140F. You really want to keep food out of this temperature range.
The idea of cold smoking is to impregnate the meat with the smoke while keeping it out of the dangerous temperature range. I suppose if you are doing this in Minnesota in the winter it's not a problem. I however am in Arizona where we occasionally have actual contests in which we fry actual eggs on actual sidewalks.
So how did I cold smoke in Arizona in the summer?
- I got up at 5am to do the smoking.
- I took the steaks straight from the refrigerator and put them in the smoker while they were still cold.
- I included some ice packs in the smoker along with the steaks. (Those ice packs still smell like hickory, btw)
After smoking for an hour, I pulled the still-cold steaks out of the smoker, wrapped then in plastic wrap and put them back into the refrigerator to be grilled that evening.
So how did it work? The steaks were fantastic. The result was a flavor that you rarely get in restaurants and never experience at home (unless you have a smoker).